General Superintendent Stan A. Toler (center) poses with his sons, Seth (left) and Adam (right), prior to watching close family friend R. A. Dickey pitch during the 2012 Major League Baseball All Star Game.
Toler sees 'adopted son' pitch at MLB All Star Game
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Kansas City, Missouri
By NCN News Staff
General Superintendent Stan A. Toler attended Tuesday's Major League Baseball All Star Game in support of R. A. Dickey, a pitcher for the New York Mets and someone Toler considers an "adopted son."

Now a National League All Star, Dickey began his baseball career when he was selected in the first round of the 1996 draft out of the University of Tennessee by the Texas Rangers. The Rangers offered the Nashville native an $800,000 contract, but during a physical doctors discovered he was missing a bone in his right elbow. When doctors told Ranger leadership Dickey wouldn't be able to keep on pitching without seriously injuring himself, Dickey's contract was reduced by more than 90 percent.

He spent the next 14 years in the minor leagues, including six seasons with Oklahoma City's AAA team, the Redhawks. Stan and Linda Toler, who live in Oklahoma City, were Dickey's host family for parts of four seasons while he was there. Stan Toler said "it was a pleasure to keep R. A. in our home" and referred to Dickey as an "adopted son." 

In 2006, the Rangers signed Dickey again and he switched from being a traditional pitcher to a knuckleball pitcher. The knuckleball, thrown by gripping the ball with the thumb and two-to-four knuckles, barely rotates, making its motion unpredictable and difficult to hit. Over the years Dickey perfected the pitch and later earned stints with the Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Milwaukee Brewers, and now the Mets. 

This season has been a storybook year for Dickey, who sports a 12-1 won-lost record (his 12 wins are tied for the best in baseball) with two one-hit games and an earned run average of 2.40, good for fifth in National League. He has three complete games, including two by shutout, and his 123 strikeouts place him second in the National League. Dickey was an easy choice for the National League's All Star team - his first time receiving the honor. 

While Dickey didn't start the July 10 All Star Game in Kansas City for the National League - a point of controversy for many - he made his All Star debut in the sixth inning of the National League's 8-0 win over the American League. He gave up one hit, did not allow a run, and had one strikeout. 

Toler, with his sons Seth and Adam, was on hand to watch Dickey pitch. 

"Going to the All Star Game was a dream come true for me since my days of playing baseball," Toler said. "The event was made even better because R. A. Dickey made the team and pitched the sixth inning. I was like a proud father when he stepped on the mound." 

Toler said Dickey, who is a strong Christian, was talking to Toler recently about his season and said "only God could orchestrate a script like this." Toler called it "a story of faith and discipline." 

The Nazarene ties for Dickey do not stop with Toler. He also took classes at Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville.

Dickey was honored last week by ABC News as their Person of the Week.

In January, Dickey risked his career by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for Bombay Teen Challenge, a nonprofit organization that combats human trafficking in India. He also works with a nonprofit organization called Honoring the Father Ministries, which began spreading the gospel through baseball in Cuba.

Dickey's co-written biography, Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, was released in March. He will be featured in an upcoming documentary called “Knuckleball.”
Discuss Toler sees 'adopted son' pitch at MLB All Star Game in our forum
Post a Message | Read Messages (0) | Report Abuse